Dan Buri's first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.
Mr. Buri's non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.
Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World's Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Pieces Like Pottery Links
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BRSBKBLOG asked Dan for "Ten things he learned by writing his book"
Ten Things I Learned When Writing My Book
When Pete graciously offered me the opportunity to guest post about the ten things I learned when writing my book Pieces Like Pottery, my first thought was, “Well, who is going to care what I learned?” But then I thought of a piece of advice I received a long time ago and I remembered, “Why do I care who cares?”
1 - Don’t worry if you have anything important to say. If you’re inspired, write.
When asked about the fears and doubts that she had with her writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love) said she finally had an epiphany that her “writing muse” was telling her that this isn’t her story. If she doesn’t tell it, she said, then the muse would move on to someone else who will. Ms. Gilbert discussed how freeing this was for her. She was no longer declaring to the reader: “Listen to me. I have something to say.” It was almost as if she had no other choice but to write. This opened her up to write every day without fear of the result. When writing my book, this advice was had a similar effect on me that it had for Ms. Gilbert.
2 - Be yourself.
I am constantly inspired by writers, but I made a decision early on in my writing not to try to duplicate any other author’s style. I want to be my own writer.
3 - Write every day.
Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life. He has a great quote for young creatives. In short, he encourages that your work is not going to be good when you’re first starting out. You may have an excitement for our craft and a killer taste for what’s good, but your execution is poor. The only way to improve your work, the only way to close the gap so that your work is as good as your ambitions, is to do a lot of work. Write. Every day. Every week put yourself on a deadline to write something new. It’s going to take awhile, but that’s normal. Good writing doesn’t come the first time you sit down. Learning this early in the writing of my book was important.
4 - Observe and empathize.
Good writers have a unique gift of empathy that allows them to tap into the “realness” of their characters. Good writers work hard to understand another person’s pains, hopes, dreams and fears, which allows them to create very compelling characters. I learned (I hope) to be more observant and more empathetic throughout the writing of this book.
5 - There is rarely the perfect time and place to write.
Once upon a time I thought I needed to write in a particular time and place. I would typically write at night and need to be in the perfect mood to do so. With a very demanding job, a wonderful wife, and two-year-old daughter, however, I quickly found that I was not finding much time to write at all. I had to begin writing anytime I could find a free 30 minutes. I was lucky I did too.
I think young writers always wait for the moment of inspiration to strike. These moments are amazing, but they are a great luxury. The truth, in my opinion, is that writing is as much about editing and revising as it is about the writing itself. I have so many pages of Pieces Like Pottery on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Maybe editing is a beautiful and inspiring process for some people, but for most writers I know, it is painstaking. There’s nothing inspirational about it for me. Having very little time to write each day helped me to begin taking my writing to the next level, to learn to hone it as a craft, rather than writing simply being an inspirational hobby. I had to find time to write whenever I could, regardless of whether the circumstances were perfect.
That being said, I still love to write at night over a nice glass of wine or a whiskey. Nothing beats that.
6 - Be vulnerable.
Yes, this sounds a lot like #2, but it’s different in my estimation. Readers want authenticity. They can see right through you if you’re faking it. I had to learn to be vulnerable as an author.
7 -Something is not a failure simply because the public doesn’t receive it the way you would like.
Louis C.K. is one of the most thoughtful and innovative comics alive right now. I heard him once speak about his HBO show, Lucky Louie, which was cancelled after one season in 2006. He was asked if he was disappointed with that and if he looked back at it as a failure. His answer was unequivocally: “No.” For him it was just another experience that taught him how to hone his craft, which was invaluable. This was an important piece of advice for me to learn throughout writing my book.
8 - Find balance.
I learned early in this process that I needed to find balance as an author. I needed to be dedicated to the craft and to write daily, but I also needed to find balance with the needs of my family, friends, and my own spiritual centeredness…oh yea, and my day job too I guess.
9 - Write what you know.
This is not a particularly insightful concept—it has been offered as advice to writers for decades—but it was important for me to remember this advice when writing my book. It’s easy to look at what’s on the bestseller’s lists and be tempted to write a novel you think the public might buy. I had to write what I knew, though, even if it wasn’t YA or fantasy fiction.
10 - Enjoy it.
We write for a reason don’t we?
Many thanks to Dan for some wise words!